Google Tools for Local SEO
There are a lot of people who are constantly whining about Google doing something that will mess with their sites. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many instances of Google screwing over SEO’s and just watching their own backs.
However, I like to think that Google actually loves SEO’s, particularly those who bring real value to site visitors and help the web become higher and higher quality for searchers.
With that being said, Google has created tools that make learning and performing Local SEO infinitely easier. After you read the list we’ve put together, I think you’ll reconsider your hate for Google if you had any from the start.
If configured properly, Google Analytics can help you not only see how many page views you have, but breakdown where they came from, how they interact with the site, and
Google Search Console
Just like Google Analytics, there is real power with all the free information Google is giving away. The real trick is understanding how to use it in your Local SEO campaigns.
Here’s a quick example. For a local injury attorney, we looked through which pages were performing the highest with regards to clicks and impressions. We were surprised to see so many queries about yellow light laws, pet accidents, and certain pedestrian laws. We dug deeper, and it turns out that some of the posts on the site were ranking extremely high for such terms and were attracting links!
But how does that help us? It helps us because since those posts were so powerful, the internal links in the text of those could give other pages on the site. We decided to re-vamp those posts, make new graphics and layouts, go into more depth, and add value-driven links. Here’s an extremely professional graphic that explains it.
Google was created to bring the world’s information to our fingertips, and they have done and pretty fricking good job. For local seo, knowing who your competitors are and what they are doing is crucial to beating them. For example, when it comes to content, look to your competitors to know how often you should be creating content. If everyone ranking in the top 10 has weekly posts, that should signal to you that that is your new threshold. It’s not an exact science, but unless you have a specific reason not to create new content, do it.
Google also has some “secret functions” that lay people don’t know about, like Search Operators. This allows you to target very specific keywords within Google Search. For example, you could look for local link opportunities by using the following search string.
houston blog inurl:guest post
And viola! There’s an easy-to-snag guest post opportunity with a DA of 64! Use your own parameters, location, etc to see what you can find.
Speaking for myself, Google Drive basically runs my company. I am still amazed that they kept this service free all these years (I’d be willing to pay my left *** for it, don’t tell Google!).
They give you 15 GB of free space, for crying out loud (and this doesn’t include their own software files [Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc]). Use it and abuse it, baby!
We personally use it for simple budget-tracking, client workflow sheets, SOP’s, conversion tracking, client reporting, and a bunch of other crap.
Google Data Studio
We still haven’t harnessed the power of Google Data Studio, but I’m sure we will be running some tests on it soon and rolling out a product. I personally know a white hat link-builder that uses Data Studio to send reports to his clients each month with little work. Simple plug in the Google properties you’d like to include (Sheets, Analytics, Search Console, etc) along with the specific data set and you’re cooler than a baby seal in a snow cave.
Adwords is, well, Adwords, and you can get results locally with just a bit of training. The End.
The most obvious way to use Google Alerts is to track your company, yourself, or your clients. This way you can be tipped off quickly if there is good (or bad) news about them around the web. If there are mentions out there, you can easily find them and reach out for a easy link mention. Boom! There are other creative ways to use Google Alerts, but you can play with them and find the best uses.
Google Keyword Tool
This used to be an amazing tool to get keyword volumes straight “from the horse’s mouth”, but has since gotten worse for hobbyist SEO’s and small agencies.
There are some pluses and minuses to using Google’s blogging platform, so use it with a specific purpose in mind. You may want to house your local blog on this platform or create a type of web 2.0 with it, but remember, it’s getting harder to create content that helps your site, but provides little value. Use Caution, in other words.
This is an oft-overlooked Google tool that has some serious power behind it. There are some pretty freaking cool third party SEO plugins that make local SEO much easier.
Much like Google Alerts, you can see in visual form if people are searching for your product, industry, or locality.
Outreach and communication has never been simpler. Gmail allows third parties like Mailshake and GMass to automatically send and track emails, which is fully necessary as you learn to convert emails into local clients.
Just below Google itself, Youtube is the top search engine on the planet. This fact is amazing, given the fact that it’s only a video platform. Your local content can use how-to, informational, or entertaining videos to drive local traffic to your site. You can add links to the description as well, so for those who find your video on Youtube, they’ll easily be able to navigate to your site and consume more interesting, valuable content.
Google can be overbearing for SEO’s at times, but after reading this list, you’ll be grateful for all the tools that “G” gives away for free so that you can dominate the local SERP’s.